62/Modelo para armar, by Julio Cortázar

63066English title: 62: A model kit

Written in 1968, this book was born from Rayuela’s (Hopscotch, 1963) chapter 62, in which an idea for a book, and particularly for its characters and their behaviors, was described. Despite this fact, this is a standalone novel.

Its subtitle refers to the particular way the story is written: In little pieces, like scraps, that were put together in the wrong order. This book doesn’t contain chapters, so the different “scenes” are limited by blank spaces. And then, in each “scene”, usually containing interaction between two or more characters, the narrative point of view may change from a third person to a first person, and then the first person narrator might be changed from one character to the other during the duration of the “scene”. I know this sound confusing, but at the moment, while reading it, it’s easy to keep up with the jumps, because they came in a way that I can’t think another way to described as “smooth and naturally”-

The characters of this story are a heterogeneous group of friends, that most of the time are scattered in different cities, so the action takes place simultaneously at Paris, London and Vienna.  Their relationship and entanglements are what motivates most of the events in the novel. They’re very bond together, but at the same time they’re not (if that makes any sense). It’s our job as readers to try to understand and untangle the actions, the things said, the secrets kept, the thoughts, the emotions, separate reality from dreams and imagination, to understand what is really going on at the end.

Advertisements

Love letters to the dead, by Ava Dellaira

9782749923567Laurel starts writing a letter to a dead person (Kurt Cobain) as an assignment for her English class. But, instead of giving it to her teacher, she kept the letter and started to write some more, just as writing a diary. There are a lot of things going on in her life (her sister died, her mother left, she goes through share custody between her father and her aunt, she changed school and friends, she is falling in love…) and uses these letters to famous dead people as part of her grieving process.

Another book I kept reading just to see the end of it. It’s quite annoying. I don’t know… I felt like the entire book was crying and begging for a coming of age movie adaptation. It felt fake, and a bit pretentious.

Lola… and Isla…, by Stephanie Perkins

Classic love stories á la rom-com. Last year I succumbed to the hype and bought the first book in the trilogy. When I started reading it I was overwhelmed by the amount of clichés I was founding and felt a great disappointment. However, as I kept going, I ended up binge-reading it like there was no tomorrow. It was still full of clichés and predictable situations, but, for reasons unknown, I enjoyed it. For the second and third part of the series I was already aware of what I could expect and pretty much I knew beforehand how they ended, but those things didn’t make them less enjoyable. From these two, I liked Lola better.

Semillas 1 y ¡Pipí cucú!, by Decur

Decur (Guillermo Decurguez) is an Argentinian illustrator that I like a lot! His works are filled with such tiny detail, naïveté and adorableness in general that are like a warm hug to the heart. These two books are perfect for reading in a summer afternoon, under a huge tree, hearing nothing but birds singing and the sweet breeze blowing.

The human condition, by André Malraux

la-condicion-humana-andre-malraux-d_nq_np_138611-mla20610389568_032016-fAfter reading so many children’s books I wanted to have a more “grown-up” reading.

I only bought this book because of the author. I read a very little thing from Malraux at uni, so when I found this book, that had no  information in its exterior except for the title and the author and that seemed to be a novel, I said to myself “I’ll probable like this”. Well… I didn’t hate it but I didn’t quite enjoy it either. This novel is situated during a communist revolution that occured in China and started in the late 20s. This was completely out of my comfort zone and made me realize how little I know about the 20th century history, particularly this timeline. The book depicts the difference of opinions existent within the Communist Party, the position of the USSR as the headlight of the party, the position of those that were acting against the party at that moment, the role that the colonialist interests of France in Asia, etc. It’s full with inner dialogues and philosophical meditations. It’s a great “grown-up” reading, but not the kind I needed at that time. But I’ll definitely give it a second reading sometime in the future.

What Katy did at school, by Susan Coolidge

26594044When I was a kid I read What Katy did next, which I soon realized, after reading the first pages, that wasn’t the first time Katy was introduced to the readers. This year I got to read this book, which wasn’t either the first, but the second book in the Katy series. Here we find Katy as a teenager. She and her sister Clover have the chance to go to a boarding school where a far cousin attends. They’re not very keen to the idea of leaving home for such a long time, knowing that this school is very far away and they won’t even have the opportunity of coming back home for the Holidays, but their dad convinces them and there they go. They make friends, they have fun, they become the moral compasses of their friends as the two very well educated young ladies that they are and everyone is as happy as expected.

Heidi’s children, by Charles Tritten

510507Johanna Spyri was the original author of Heidi, and Charles Tritten was his translator to English. He decided it would be a good idea to write sequels to the original story, such as Heidi growing up and, like this book, having children. I haven’t read the original novel, but I did read the first sequel, Heidi and Peter as a kid. What I can remember from that book is that there were some passages suspiciously similar (for not saying “exactly the same”) to another of Spyri’s work (Grittli or Jörli, I can’t remember). For this occasion, he came up with a story that I found uninspired, soul-less and stiff. I couldn’t relate or bond with the characters AT ALL and the book was for me so annoying that made me wish to reach the ending as fast as possible.